My very small role came from incriminating documents I recovered from a Hisbah (Islamic police) station, while I fought against ISIS with the YPG during the 2016 battle to liberate Shaddadi. The documents named local Hisbah members. Turns out his kunya was on the list.
In 2018 I uploaded images of the docs online, where they caught the eye of OSINT investigator @hpiedcoq who was researching the case for the French Ministry of Justice. We met in Paris and things went from there. He did some amazing work collecting data on Tyler's time in Syria.
Tyler is in the background of an ISIS execution video where 2 prisoners are shot in the head in Shaddadi. Despite standing near the executioners he claimed he ended up there by chance upon exiting the mosque. As absurd as that sounds it's hard to disprove.
The documents were important because they proved he was a Hisbah member. Hisbah also act as 'stewards' for public executions, supervising the event and securing the staging area from crowds. His presence was in that context, which makes him complicit in murder.
I spent a lot of time photographing the endless reams of paperwork I found left behind by ISIS with the hope some of it might be useful in holding those who committed crimes accountable. And I'm glad I did.
They had enough to put Tyler away for a long time even without those documents. But acknowledging his role in the brutalization of the civilian population as a member of Hisbah is an important step towards securing justice for his victims.
Returning ISIS prisoners to their home countries to face trial is challenging. Often there isn't enough evidence to find them guilty of crimes. But this trial demonstrates how OSINT research can be used to collect evidence and build a solid case. Hopefully there's more to come.
You can follow @joshmolloy101.
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